Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

TSA agents may steal your belongings

Airlines, Airport, Holidays, Money, One Bag, Security, Travelling, iPadEdward KiledjianComment

Would you be surprised if I told you that some TSA agents have been caught stealing from passengers?  The TSA is reporting that  an agent at JFK may have stolen up to $5,000 in cash from passengers as their personal affects rolled down the screening conveyor belt.

Another TSA employee, this time in Dallas, has been put on administrative leave because he may have stolen up to 8 iPads from passengers. MSNBC interviewed (Nico Melendez ) a TSA spokesperson who made some interesting recommendations for travellers:

  • He recommends putting all your valuable items (cash, watch, wallet, phone, etc.) in a zippered pocket in a briefcase. I couldn’t agree more. Never drop valuables in a plastic bin where a good thief can steal it in the blink of an eye. Make is as difficult for them to steal as possible. Personally I put my valuables inside one of the many inside pockets of my Scottevest jacket, then zip the pocket and zip the jacket.
  • He recommended never checking in valuables. He says that in addition to TSA screening, a checked luggage may be handled four or five times by airlines (by up to 10 different people). I read this and wonder why people still check in luggage.
  • He says that sometimes passengers pick up the wrong luggage (from the carousel) and therefore lost luggage may not have actually been stolen but rather taken by mistake. 
  • He also highlights the fact that items often get forgotten in “resolution rooms” after a more detailed inspection. So double check to ensure you packed up all your belongings if you get sent to secondary screening.
  • He recommends adding clear identification to all your belongings to ensure your items can find their way back to you if misplaced. I agree with this recommendation but with one caveat, never list your address.  If a thief knows you are heaving to Cancun on vacation and picks up your address from your luggage tag then he can more comfortably rob your house while you are away. I recommend listing your name and a cell phone number.

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